3 Bug-Borne Illnesses to Avoid

PHOTO: When it comes to summer bug bites, some are more dangerous than others.PlayUsda.gov
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A mild winter across the United States has insect experts predicting a buggier summer in 2012. Shrug off stings, learn the truth behind the biggest bug myths, and even conquer your fear of the creepy-crawlies with this mini-encyclopedia of entomology just call us your swat team.

If You're Hiking Through Brush, Beware Lyme Disease

This fever-inducing and potentially life-threatening infection is transmitted by a deer tick's bite. According to the CDC, more than 20,000 cases in the United States were reported in 2010 alone.

Deer ticks hitch rides from plants. If you're walking through the tall stuff, tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks.

If You Like to Grill, Beware West Nile Virus

Mosquitoes carry this virus. Infection can lead to fever, headache, fatigue, and body aches. The virus can also cause other complications, including meningitis, paralysis, and permanent nerve damage. Just avoid The Worst Ways to Treat Bug Bites.

Pools of water, even shallow ones, are mosquito maternity wards. Shake out your grill cover after rainstorms and backfill low-lying areas in your yard. A puddle could be hazardous to your health.

If You're Out in the Woods, Beware Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

This illness, caused by bacteria from wood ticks or dog ticks, has been most common in the eastern half of the nation. Left untreated, it has a mortality rate of up to 20 percent, the CDC says.

Take the same precautions you'd use in brush. If back at home you have fever, nausea, and/or aches—and later, a rash—see your doctor, stat. Caught early, the infection is easily treatable with antibiotics. Know what other symptoms warrant a trip to your doctor: Learn the 7 Pains You Shouldn't Ignore.


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